Fares: FAQs

What is the first train from Sevenoaks to London (Monday to Friday) on which off-peak tickets are valid?

The 09:19 to London Charing Cross is the first train for which off-peak day returns to “London Terminals” are valid. However first train time for off-peak tickets to other destinations may be different: see our longer article.

Can I use a National Rail ‘London Terminals’ paper ticket to exit / enter Waterloo East via the automatic gates at Southwark Underground station?

No longer.  TfL withdrew this long-standing facility in 2014. It was then re-introduced while Charing Cross trains were not stopping at London Bridge during the building, but it has been withdrawn again. To exit via Southwark Underground station you need to use a Pay As You Go Oystercard or a contactless payment card at the TfL barriers.  If you exit Southwark station within 10 minutes you will not be charged.  Alternatively you can buy a Southwark platform ticket for 20p.

To which stations are Southeastern ‘London Terminals’ tickets valid?

City Thameslink [CTK], London Blackfriars [BFR], London Bridge [LBG], London Cannon Street [CST], London Charing Cross [CHX], London Waterloo [WAT], London Waterloo East [WAE], London Victoria [VIC], Vauxhall [VXH]

‘London Terminals’ tickets are not valid for travel from the south to Farringdon or St Pancras.  They are only valid as far as City Thameslink. You need to buy a special ticket for Farringdon or St Pancras; the rail-only ticket is much cheaper than the “Sevenoaks to Underground Zone 1” ticket.

North of London there are ‘London Thameslink’ tickets that are valid to all the stations in the Thameslink “core”: St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle. These are not currently available from the Sevenoaks area.

Can I travel in First Class if I have a Standard Class ticket but find that no Standard Class seats are available?

Normally, only with the prior permission of the Conductor, or if First Class has been declassified. However on Thameslink trains some of the First Class accommodation is always declassified south of the Thames.

Holders of “Priority” cards cannot use First Class, even if no Standard Class seats are available. However women over 20 weeks’ pregnant can get a “Letter of Authorisation” that allows use of First Class if no Standard Class seats are available: see our detailed article on this.

If I am travelling to the North or West of Great Britain on a specific train from London, and my local train to London is delayed, do I have to buy a new ticket?

In theory, no.

The National Conditions of Travel Clause 9.4 says:

Where you are using a Ticket valid on a specific train service or train services (such as an ‘advance’ Ticket) and you miss a service because a previous connecting train service was delayed, you will be able to travel on the next train service provided by the Train Company with whom you were booked without penalty.

That’s the theory.  However the rail companies have not been forthcoming about how this procedure works – it seems to depend on the goodwill of the barrier staff and the conductors on the second train.  There have been particular difficulties with Virgin West Coast at Euston. You can try to get a note from Southeastern staff proving the delay, but they can be reluctant to give it (the GB Train Companies have resisted the requirement on continental train operators to stamp tickets if there is a delay).

In theory you can take a later train even if the previous, delayed, train was on a different ticket (for instance a season from Sevenoaks to London). But it can be easier if the ticket is an end-to-end one, say from Sevenoaks to Edinburgh.  If you have any experience of this one way or the other, please let us know using the comment box below.

(reviewed 29 January 2019)


Fares: FAQs — 17 Comments

  1. @skint No, the Oyster card is still not accepted at Sevenoaks and there is no requirement to introduce it during the next franchise (2019-2027). That’s one of the things we lost when Chris Grayling vetoed the transfer of metro services to TfL.

  2. Canadian flying into Heathrow Apr 27 heading to Sevenoaks for 7 days however touring in London during this time. What is the most economical ticket required to travel from Sevenoaks into London Charing Cross(?) and return to Sevenoaks off peak hours? What pass/ticket do I need and are there senior rates? Would it be beneficial in also getting Oyster card and/or Transport card or are they both required? Find this UK transportation requirements in and about London fairly confusing as to what we require. So do I need a Southeastern weekly ticket for Sevenoaks into London zone 6 plus Oyster Ticket 7 days so to use directly in London central?

  3. Thanks for raising this. It’s complicated to get the best deal. Here is some information that should help.

    • Sevenoaks is not part of the London Oyster/Contactless system. So you need a rail ticket to travel to London, and then pay TfL fares for travel within London. There are combined Rail/TfL travelcards – see below.
    • An offpeak return rail ticket from Sevenoaks to “London Terminals” (basically London Bridge/Waterloo East/Charing Cross/Cannon Street) is £12.70. It is valid for one day and for one return journey only.
    • In Zone 1 (the main tourist areas) a tube fare is £2.40 if you pay by Oyster/Contactless. All bus fares are £1.50, and you can change buses free within one hour of first touching in. Cash fares are much more expensive on the tube and you cannot pay by cash on buses. There is daily capping on Oyster/Contactless fares at £6.80 for tube travel in Zone 1 and £4.50 for bus fares, so the fourth and subsequent journeys are free on each service (there may be some combined capping too). The system automatically works out the capping – you just use your card normally.
    • TfL sell Travelcards for their system, but they are usually more expensive than Pay-As-You-Go with Capping (so a Zone 1 off-peak travelcard is £12.70, compared to a tube cap of £6.80 plus a bus cap of £4.50 = £11.30).
    • However you can buy a Combined Rail/TfL Offpeak Day Travelcard from Sevenoaks station that combines (1) a return journey to London and (2) unlimited travel on tube, bus, rail and tram in Zones 1-6. This is £16.50 – only £3.80 more than a return journey from Sevenoaks to London by rail. So if you are going to take more than one tube journey, even just within Zone 1, or more than two bus journeys it’s better value than paying rail and TfL separately. You can buy an Offpeak Day Travelcard from the ticket office or the ticket machines at Sevenoaks station at the start of your journey. (At the ticket office you can also buy a Travelcard for future days.) The Travelcard is an “Orange” paper ticket that will pass through the tube barriers and that you have to show as you board a bus.
    • The Offpeak Travelcard from Sevenoaks is only available on a daily basis. If you want a ticket for the whole week you can buy a Weekly Travelcard from Sevenoaks that costs £104.90 – that covers morning peak travel as well, which is why it is so expensive. You don’t need a rail “photocard” for this (you do need that for monthly tickets). If you were sure that you would be travelling on all 7 days then it would be a bit cheaper than 7 daily offpeak travel cards (7 x £16.50 = £115.50) and you would be able to travel to London earlier.
    • If you are over 60 you can buy a Senior Railcard for £30 for one year at Sevenoaks station. You’ll need your passport. That gives you 1/3 off off-peak rail tickets and travelcards (so a offpeak return is £8.40 and an offpeak Day Travelcard is £10.90). For 7 days travelling each day you’d save £39.20 so it would just be worthwhile (total cost for daily travelcards £106.30 instead of £115.50), but a Weekly peak travelcard would be better value. For 5 days offpeak travelling it’s not good value for travel to London alone, although if you were going to Cambridge, Oxford or Brighton then it could well be worthwile since the discount is on offpeak fares on longer journeys too. You need to carry your Senior Railcard with you at all times, both to buy tickets from a ticket office and on trains. You won’t get a discount on peak time tickets, including the Weekly Travelcard.

    In short, you would probably be best to buy daily Travelcards from Sevenoaks station. If you are sure that you will be travelling to London on all 7 consecutive days then a Weekly Travelcard could be marginally cheaper. If you are thinking of travelling further afield by train then consider getting a Senior Railcard.

    Incidentally, for TfL services, using a Contactless bank credit/debit payment card is usually better than buying an Oyster card – not only will there be no outstanding credit at the end of your visit but there are also some weekly fare caps that aren’t available on Oyster. However in the early days of the system there were issues with some contactless cards issued by non-European banks.

  4. There seems to be some confusion over the first off-peak train. National Rail Enquiries state that it’s changed to the 9.19. This is confirmed by the ticket office. On a train, I was told that the fares were available after 9am. Southeastern customer services stated that it applied to trains arriving at London after 10am. I think that the FAQ may need updating.

    Really gallingly, the automated ticket machines at Sevenoaks station do not offer the off-peak tickets for the 9.19, and the ticket office disclaims all responsibility for them. So if you want to catch that train at off-peak prices, you need to ensure that you allow for the length of the ticket office queue.

  5. My Annual Rail Card is coming up for renewal. Is the split-ticket option still available for someone commuting from Sevenoaks to Charing Cross?

  6. @tim

    Yes we believe it is still valid, and people are using it successfully with the agreement of guards, although there have been reports that Sevenoaks ticket office have been discouraging people from buying it (surprise!).

    The “Key” smartcard cannot be loaded with two different season tickets, so you need to buy paper tickets.

  7. Just looking split ticket option for sevenoaks to canary wharf. The key website says “How many tickets can I buy on The Key?

    You can buy up to 5 different tickets on your Key card.

    Each ticket has to be bought and loaded separately. ” Is it definitely true that “The “Key” smartcard cannot be loaded with two different season tickets”?

  8. @James

    As you say, the website says “up to 5”. However people have reported problems with two season tickets in the split ticket case. There are also some season tickets that cannot be loaded onto the Key card, such as “Also Available At” (AAA) tickets.

  9. I see that it is £164 cheaper to buy a season ticket from Tonbridge to London Terminals than it is to buy one from Sevenoaks. Would you happen to know, with a Tonbridge to London ticket can you get on and off at Sevenoaks? Thanks

  10. @Simon

    The £3444 annual season ticket from Tonbridge to London Terminals is *only* valid for travel via Redhill. This is a relatively slow and infrequent route, and that’s reflected in the pricing. It is not valid for travel to or via Sevenoaks.

    The annual season ticket from Tonbridge to London Terminals via Sevenoaks is £4364. That’s also valid on the Redhill route, but not on HS1 via Ashford. Although it’s cheaper per mile than from Sevenoaks (37p rather than 41p), it is more miles.

    There’s also an annual season ticket from Tonbridge to London Terminals that covers HS1 as well as the Sevenoaks and Redhill routes. That’s £6656 – and unless one works at Kings Cross it’s hard to see why that would be attractive.

    Generally you can start and/or finish a journey at any intermediate station on the route covered by a season ticket – see condition 16.3 of the National Rail Conditions of Travel here. However the season ticket probably won’t be accepted by the automatic barriers at intermediate stations and you’ll have to persuade the station staff to open the barrier manually; it’s not clear how this works if you have an electronic season ticket on a Key card.

  11. I am soon to purchase an annual season ticket from Bat & Ball to London zones and will travel via Sevenoaks into London Bridge.

    I’ve been reading about the split ticket option with New Cross, or there’s another one with Orpington that would give all zones benefit but much less saving.

    I have a few questions I hope you can help with…

    There are 2 options for BBL to New Cross.
    £2212 “not valid for travel via (changing trains or passing through) London Terminals”
    £3612 “valid only for travel via (changing trains or passing through) London Terminals”.
    I’m not clear on the difference or who for?

    At weekends / during works trains from Sevenoaks often go through Chislehurst / New Beckenham. Would the above split ticket options still be valid on these routes?

    Should National Rail conditions of travel change (latest version from 11 March 2018) would current season tickets still be valid per previous conditions?

    Many thanks.

  12. @Tim

    The £2212 annual season ticket to New Cross does not allow double-back via London Bridge (which would otherwise be a permitted route, as there is an easement). If you could double-back then you could simply use the ticket as a Bat & Ball to London Bridge ticket. The £3612 does allow the double-back, and is priced as the same as a Bat & Ball to London Terminals ticket (although a London Terminals ticket would be more flexible, and so a better buy).

    The split ticket only works on trains scheduled to pass through New Cross. When there are engineering works in the Grove Park area there are sometimes scheduled diversions via Bromley South, Beckenham Junction, New Beckenham, Ladywell and then via New Cross to London Bridge. The split ticket would be valid on that route. But there are also sometimes scheduled diversions via Bromley South, Brixton and to Victoria. A New Cross split ticket is not valid on that route.

    The National Conditions of Travel can change at any time, and ATOC do not normally publicly consult in advance. However the Conditions that apply to your ticket for its duration are the Conditions that apply at the moment that you buy it. So if you’ve bought an annual split ticket it should work for the whole year.

  13. Can I split the annual ticket between Tunbridge Wells and London Waterloo East into two tickets: one from T.Wells to Orpington(which is Zone6) and another Travelcard for Zoner 1-2. National rail enquiries responded in the e-mail saying I could. When I went to the station to buy this split tickets, the ticket office clerk at the Tunbridge Wells station rudely told me it was nonsense…because I will be travelling THROUGH zones 3-6, which will not be covered by these two split tickets.

  14. @Victoria The ticket office at Tunbridge Wells are right. The two split tickets must ‘meet’ at a common station (although if one is season ticket the train does not have to stop there) so that you have a valid ticket for each point on the journey, including in this case Zones 3-5 and Orpington to the Zone 5-6 boundary.

    It’s a fraud to use two season tickets for short sections at either end of the journey, without a ticket covering the middle.

    It sounds as though not only was the National Rail Enquiries email wrong but also that it would have subjected you to criminal liability. If you could forward the email to secretary (at) srta (dot) org (dot) uk we will take that up with railway management.

  15. I am moving to Sevenoaks and need to change my rail card. I will be going into Charing Cross from Sevenoaks but returning in the evenings from Charing Cross to Bat & Ball Station. Which annual travelcard will I need to buy to cover me for both stations outbound and inbound to London?

  16. @Robyn

    Both a Sevenoaks to London Zones 1-6 Annual Travelcard or a Bat&Ball to London Zones 1-6 Annual Travelcard would be valid for this journey pattern. Bat & Ball to London is valid via Sevenoaks, and Sevenoaks to London is valid via Bat & Ball. They are the same price (curiously there’s a £4 difference in annual fares at the moment, but that’s an anomaly).

    However for compensation reasons it may be advantageous to have a Bat & Ball ticket:

  17. Thameslink refused to pay compensation for the timetable disruption last summer to users of Bat & Ball who held Sevenoaks tickets, on the basis that the contractual journey was from Sevenoaks to London and faster Southeastern trains were always available for the contracted route. Bat & Ball ticket holders did receive this compensation.
  18. If you have a Bat & Ball ticket then, if your train from Charing Cross to Sevenoaks is delayed and you miss the connection to Bat & Ball, then Southeastern will pay Delay-Repay compensation on the basis of the whole journey to Bat & Ball, including the extra wait at Sevenoaks. However if you have a Sevenoaks ticket then they will only pay on the basis of the lateness of the arrival at Sevenoaks.
  19. It would also help the community to buy a Bat & Ball ticket. Many Bat & Ball travellers do buy Sevenoaks tickets (the Sevenoaks ticket office often sell Sevenoaks tickets on the basis that they’re the same price). However buying a Sevenoaks ticket causes the usage of Bat & Ball to be under-counted (as our recent morning peak count showed), and this has an impact on the attention paid to Bat & Ball.

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